flwyd: (Vigelandsparken heels over head)
Part of me wants to stop listening, turn away, and get America's unpopularly elected president out of my head. But he's got an uncanny narcissistic knack for getting people to pay attention to him. So here's some commentary on pieces of Trump's inauguration speech.

In a speech whose overall tone was jingoistic nationalism, this stood out to me:
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
It sounds like Trump misunderstands friendship. When a good friend is in need, we put aside our own interests to help them out. We lend our friends money at no interest when they're in a jam. We put our own reputation on the line to vouch for a friend's character. We sit our friends down for an uncomfortable conversation when they need an intervention.

Friendship is a long-term relationship that often involves personal sacrifice to help the other. We do this because at some point, at a time unknown and with no guarantee, the friend might be in a position to return the favor. Trump's line does not describe friendship. Perhaps the term he was looking for was "business partner."

Trump launched his campaign by impugning Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers and made anti-immigrant bluster a cornerstone of his rallies, so it's no surprise it was a key point in his inauguration speech.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.
There's actually a really elegant solution to this. If you make it easy for immigrants to become citizens, more Americans will be employed and more American families will contribute to society.

Trump continued on one of his favorite topics, borders. (Although the U.S. only has two, and Trump only seems to care about one of them, so perhaps he should make it singular.)
We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs… We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
"We will bring back our borders" is an odd choice of wording. Make America 48 Again? Maybe he wants to renegotiate the Louisiana Purchase as a public-private partnership.

The first sentence is somewhat surreal too, and not just because "ravages" seems out of place. Despite corporations counting as "persons" under U.S. law, a foreign intelligence agency can't kidnap or steal a company. And I'm not aware of major American companies disincorporating and moving to another country, perhaps because Delaware is such an effective tax shelter. (There have been some notable international purchases of American companies, perhaps none more ironic than Budweiser being produced by a Belgian firm.) Additionally, the United States is still the top manufacturer in the world, we just mostly make stuff with really fancy machines and not a lot of people (high capital, low labor). Finally, a lot of wealth has stayed in American accounts: since the companies are still American, their stocks are traded on American exchanges, and the corporate executives haven't been outsourced, wealth gains from globalization haven't fled the country: they flowed to the American 1%.

Finally, Trump is personally an odd champion for trade protectionism and a call to bring jobs back to the U.S. He makes a lot of money from hotels and resorts around the world, employing thousands of non-Americans. It would also be nonsensical to fill those jobs with U.S. citizens: you can't outsource cleaning a hotel room in Manilla to someone in Toledo. These properties also put Trump in a compromising position in his quest to put America's interest before its friends: will he put the U.S. first if, say, Trump Towers Istanbul becomes a pawn in negotiations with Turkey? Would he stick to his protectionist stance if his family was offered the chance to build Trump Tower Guangzhou?
flwyd: (charbonneau ghost car)
Family friend, painter, ragtime pianist and composer, and all-around great guy Scott Kirby has, for the last few years, lived in France and painted the American Great Plains. His art will be shown in Boulder next week. The images on his website are small and gorgeous. The paintings displayed will be large and gorgeous :-) His artist's statement is worth reading too. On his recommendation, I went out of my way to visit Charbonneau, a ghost town in western North Dakota. It was well worth the trip.

A Rare Chance to View The Visionary Art of Scott Kirby


"Visions of the Great Plains," an exhibit of spectacular drawings and watercolor paintings by Scott Kirby, will come to Boulder on Wednesday, January 9, from 6 to 9 pm, at the Avalon Ballroom, 6185 Arapahoe Ave.

Kirby, who is also an internationally renowned pianist and composer, has devoted the past several years to a visual exploration of the vastness and emotional intensity of space that he has experienced on journeys through the plains and prairies of the American West.

The one-night exhibit is free and open to the public.

Examples of Kirby's visionary art can be viewed at www.ScottKirby.net.

Departures

Thursday, August 16th, 2007 05:36 pm
flwyd: (dogcow moof!)
Yesterday was apparently the day for departures. [livejournal.com profile] mollybzz moved to China (and I received several tasty items from her refrigerator and larder). It was the last day of work for my coworker who claimed he didn't know the name of the company he was switching to (and apparently their product is too complicated to explain). And I took a few hours out of the middle of the day to attend my great uncle's memorial service at Fort Logan military cemetery.

I'm very excited for [livejournal.com profile] mollybzz and I look forward to hearing her fantastic stories of life in the Middle Kingdom. I'm somewhat glad that my coworker departed; while he was a hard worker and often entertaining, I've wanted to strangle him over several bits of code. And I'm glad that my great uncle was able to live and geek out (genre: model trains and planes) for close to 90 years without the decade-long slide into oblivion that my grandmother experienced.

I learned today via Slashdot that another dear friend has departed. ClarisWorks (renamed AppleWorks late in life) made creating documents easy and relatively frustration-free. Unlike the bloated MicrosoftWorks that didn't, ClarisWorks was small (throughout college I would download 2.5 MB worth of AppleWorks to print my homework), seamlessly integrated (put text in a picture! put a picture in a spreadsheet! put a spreadsheet with a picture in text!), and free of hassles (when prompted for a license code, you could enter anything and it would accept it). One of ClarisWorks's creators has an insightful history of the product. It's got some interesting insights into the software development and business cycle.

I played around a little with the demo version of iWork last year, but iDid't see an easy way to do the thing iUse AppleWorks for most frequently these days: laying out a bunch of small bits of text and pictures on a piece of paper. Maybe iShould take a look at iWork '08. Maybe I should look around for other WYSIWYG document software. I should definitely make sure I open all my high school and college essays and ensure they're stored in a format that will live on.

It's important to let good things come to an end. I'll miss them all, but I won't be sad. For such is the Way.
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